"Judging from The New York Times children’s best-seller list and librarian-approved selections like the annual “Best Books for Young Adults,” the bad parent is now enjoying something of a heyday...In Neil Gaiman’s novel “Coraline,” from 2002, the lonely title character wanders into danger in a creepy new house because the parents are busy and preoccupied. “Go away,” the father says cheerfully the minute she appears. This theme was made more explicit in the 2009 movie version, in which both parents seem to be transfixed by their computers. “Hey Mom, where does this door go?” Coraline asks, and her mother replies without looking away from the monitor: “I’m really, really busy.” ... A children’s book came out last year that seemed almost magically to bridge the distance between the modern high-achieving household and the old laissez-faire model — appropriately enough, it was a time-travel story: Rebecca Stead’s “When You Reach Me.” The novel became a best seller, and then in January it won the Newbery Medal ..."
Read more in the New York Times Book Review: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/books/review/Just-t.html?emc=eta1